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Learning Library Blog New formats. New events. New ways to learn.
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New formats. New events. New ways to learn.

By Team ISTE
June 9, 2015
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ISTE 2015 will feature a host of new session formats, special events and initiatives – all designed to evolve the overall conference experience for the thousands of attendees expected to embark on Philly in June. With every new approach, the focus remains on providing educators like you with immediate takeaways, addressing current ed tech topics and bringing new voices into the conversation about connected learning.

“Over the summer, educators are reflecting on what they want to do differently next year, so we always want to provide formats that invigorate learning and cover topics that are catalysts for ed tech innovation,” says Jennifer Ragan-Fore, senior director of conference services for ISTE.

Here’s a look at what’s new at ISTE 2015:

1-in-3 sessions

These rapid-paced sessions allow as many as 20 speakers to share a single spectacular tech integration idea in three minutes. Presenters are positioned on either side of the stage and the action ping-pongs back and forth, with a new presenter stepping up as the previous one finishes.

Focus areas for the sessions match those of the overall ISTE 2015 program: digital age learning and teaching, leadership, professional learning, and tech infrastructure. Expect to hear inspiring presentations on topics like design thinking, the maker movement, 3D printing and problem-solving – all based on specific classroom projects or programs.

“Twenty ideas in an hour is an amazing way to jumpstart creativity,” Ragan-Fore says.

ISTE Debates

Based on the popular ISTE Point/Counterpoint series on the EdTekHub, ISTE 2015 will feature two debate sessions – one covering the integration of coding into curriculum and another on student data privacy issues.

During the debates, teams of two presenters will speak to the nuanced “sides” of the issues, shining a light on the various aspects that simply must be considered. The idea is to have a forum that allows for intellectual debate and discussion, rather than focusing on a single tool, Ragan-Fore explains.

After the debate, audience members will participate in a follow-up activity to help them make decisions in these critical areas once they return to their schools.

ISTE Learning Academies

Digging deep and providing hands-on learning on two popular ed tech tool suites are the goals of the day-long ISTE Learning Academies scheduled before the conference.

The June 27 Google Tools for Learning Academy allows participants to select a strand and embark on a customized Google for Education learning experience. Attendees will explore Google Scripts and Add-Ons and learn about the design-thinking process in this three-workshop series.

  • The Daily Drive session will help beginners explore Google Docs, Drawings, Forms, Slides and learn how to streamline classroom workflow with Google Classroom.
  • Googleized Learning, for intermediate users, digs deeps into lesser-known tools and explores how to use Forms/Sites for formative assessment development, YouTube Editor for the flipped classroom and My Maps for geographical study and data analysis.
  • Hack Your School for those with advanced Google Tools experience will explore how to hack Google Apps to solve problems and dream up creative solutions.


The iTools for Educators Academy, June 28, gives participants experience designing curriculum materials using the Apple ecosystem of tools.

Learn to use iTunesU, iBooks, Pages, Numbers, Garage Band and iMovie, along with other iTools, to create engaging experiences students will love. This hands-on academy has participants creating real content tied to Philadelphia locations – an approach that can be localized and recreated for students when you return home.  

Choose from the elementary, secondary or higher education strands and leave with a solid start to a redeveloped curriculum. Novice to advanced iPad developers will benefit from this academy.

Learning spaces sessions

Flexible learning spaces – and how to best leverage them – is a hot topic in education circles. At ISTE 2015, you can experience such a space in real-time during 13 sessions scheduled in our innovative learning space.

We’ve set aside an entire flex room where we’ll pilot various approaches to learning and teaching using a blend of furniture, fluid arrangements and lesson types. Some sessions will demonstrate a specific lesson, some will discuss the use of flexible learning spaces and some will model flex-space use.

Sessions in this unique space will allow participants to experience this unique type of classroom setting.

Not brand-new, but worth noting, are the return of a few favorites to ISTE 2015. Ignite Sessions feature a succession of dynamic presenters each given five minutes and 20 slides to share their passions. EdTekTalks feature five minikeynotes from thought leaders beyond the world of ed tech. And Playgrounds provide educators with hands-on opportunities to “play” with interactive technologies that enhance creativity and learning.

Don’t miss the new or the tried and true at ISTE 2015. Register today, and be sure to select your Favorites!